Hell hath no fury like Ugandan twitter for homocidal Mzungu Saviors
June 20, 2019 3:52 AM   Subscribe

Missionary Renee Bach who founded the non-profit Serving His Children (SHC) in Eastern Uganda with the mission to address malnutrition in children is being sued by local mothers in connection to her involvement in the deaths of over a hundred children. Excellent reporting by the local organization No White Saviors, the Ugandan newspaper the Independent, and The Spy Uganda, has uncovered that Bach, who founded SHC soon after her arrival in Uganda as a sheltered teenager with barely a high school diploma, routinely performed complex medical procedures (such as blood transfusions using apparently the wrong blood type) on vulnerable children leading to debilitating and fatal results.

AlJazeera's The Stream asks a panel composed of the Co-Founder of No White Saviors, the Legal & Program Officer of Women’s Probono Initiative suing Bach, and a medical anthropologist: Does humanitarian aid have a 'white saviour' problem? (25:36)

BEHIND THE BASTARDS podcast's Robert Evans presents: The 'White Savior' Fake Doctor Who May Have Killed 100 Babies (1:19:46)

'An ordinary girl who said yes to an extraordinary God': Bedford native finds home in Uganda

Web Archive of the blog Renee Bach maintained where she openly detailed her crimes and her exploitatively dehumanizing perspective on the people she purported to serve.

1- From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex.
2- The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening.
3- The banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality. The world is nothing but a problem to be solved by enthusiasm.
4- This world exists simply to satisfy the needs--including, importantly, the sentimental needs--of white people and Oprah.
5- The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege.
6- Feverish worry over that awful African warlord. But close to 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice. Worry about that.
7- I deeply respect American sentimentality, the way one respects a wounded hippo. You must keep an eye on it, for you know it is deadly.
-- Teju Cole (@tejucole) March 8, 2012 on Twitter - Deeper explination in The Atlantic (Previously)
posted by Blasdelb (27 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oooh. I listened to the beyond the bastards episode earlier today. Utterly disgusting. All the evils of her type of Christianity are just beyond my comprehension. I really appreciated the work the episode did in raising the story about her for the western world
posted by kanata at 4:11 AM on June 20


One thing I particularly appreciated about the episode was how careful Evans was to credit the Ugandan parents, activists, journalists, and lawyers as well as the recovering white saviors who did so much work to expose this and are still working to bring justice. Hopefully it will get picked up by global news even if that means that those who did the real leg work get lost from the story in the process, but I still hope that the story that ends up getting told centers them and their struggle to at least some degree.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:31 AM on June 20 [18 favorites]


Black lives matter, but white feels matter more.
posted by acb at 4:54 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]




This is the worst-case that I’d imagined and feared since I first started hearing about classmates going to Africa. This will be forwarded to a lot of people I know.
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:19 AM on June 20 [18 favorites]


Ahhh I saw this a week ago and was trying to think how to fpp it, thank you. She's refusing to return for trial, so this really needs press - she murdered children knowingly through criminal negligence for fundraising purposes and ego. Imagine a UK fraudster practicing 'medicine' in Canada and leaving a body count of babies this high, then refusing to return.

The cynic in me thinks she and her church will go on in their cruel delusion, but the Ugandan press coverage is wonderful. No White Saviours is great.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:57 AM on June 20 [18 favorites]




“Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it “-George Sand
posted by TedW at 6:27 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Having grown up outside Bedford, let me just say that none of this is especially surprising to me except that she actually managed to get there and do stupid shit rather than just getting stuck in Bedford County doing stupid shit there and wondering why Jesus hasn't tortured all the liberals to death yet.

It's a mystery to be sure, but he will. You just have to have faith and eventually everyone will get what's coming to them.
posted by Naberius at 6:31 AM on June 20


Thanks for posting this; I was looking at putting it up when it came across my Twitter feed, but you delved deeper. Sadly, White Savior Industrial Complex seems to have only grown since Teju Cole wrote that piece; it seems to hit that sweet spot between evangelicals, well-meaning people who genuinely want to make a positive difference in the world, and kids rounding out their college application material. (Although it's not just kids and young people; there's a local doctor who, at least for a while, was rocking the White Savior act pretty hard, complete with fawning profile in the local paper.) It was even a plot point in the recent comedy Booksmart, and the second season of American Vandal does a deeply cynical take on the high school group trip.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:35 AM on June 20


She's a serial killer.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 6:42 AM on June 20 [40 favorites]


This is appalling.

I have seen a lot of dumb saviour complex nonsense over the years but this has to be the absolute worst. The unbelievable thing is that they did have medically trained staff but somehow she was still out there carrying out procedures! Why couldn't she have just focused on fundraising and let the trained staff do the medicine.

It's not even that she had some EMT or paramedical training and was exceeding her allowable scope of practice (also very and illegal) she had literally zero training and was giving blood transfusions. It's absolutely unbelievable.

I'm sure some people will justify this as having good intentions, but intentions are not magic. If a Ugandan had done this in the US they would go to prison.
posted by atrazine at 6:57 AM on June 20 [26 favorites]


Religion and White Supremacy are a terrible, toxic drug.

Add in quack medicine, and... I mean, who has babies drink bleach? In what horrid intersection of error and privilege does that seem like a good idea?
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:03 AM on June 20 [16 favorites]


she murdered children knowingly through criminal negligence for fundraising purposes and ego

Yeah, but she did it for Jesus so it's okay.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:19 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege.

This is a perfect summary of why I hate “mission trips” with the fire of a thousand suns. Sheltered teenagers go to an “underprivileged” country to “learn so much” from people who exist solely to validate their religious choices.

And speaking of choices, I’ll bet that this person who has murdered actual babies in the service of her own ego is staunchly anti-choice.
posted by corey flood at 8:04 AM on June 20 [31 favorites]


On a related note: Unprotected: "An acclaimed American charity said it was saving some of the world’s most vulnerable girls from sexual exploitation. But from the very beginning, girls were being raped."
posted by praemunire at 8:05 AM on June 20 [10 favorites]


"I have seen a lot of dumb saviour complex nonsense over the years but this has to be the absolute worst. The unbelievable thing is that they did have medically trained staff but somehow she was still out there carrying out procedures! Why couldn't she have just focused on fundraising and let the trained staff do the medicine."
In the timeline it looks like a Ugandan physician was only hired at least a year after SHC had already gotten a reputation for providing inadequate and dangerous medical care in 2011 that was attracting official attention. If you read past the thick suffering porn in the now deleted blog, she talks gushingly about the rush that came from providing pretty advanced medical care to children who suddenly relied on her.

What really gets me is that the charity was supposed to be shut down and the center in Jinja was forced to close due to these 'issues', but when they set up shop in the next district further away from prying eyes they doubled down on this medically intensive strategy with Renee wearing the same authoritative white coat. You would think that it would have been a wake up call for her to more sustainably focus on her core expertise, grifting Virginian horse people and Evangelicals back home. They've got the NGO presentation down so pat they could easily fool even pretty sophisticated outsiders that the whole operation was led with Ugandan agency. Heck just read the response that Bach's mother, the US director, chose to make to one of the more derivitive and weaker pieces on The Friendly Atheist, no doubt to help frame their opposition. If you didn't know how often the response was directly contradicted by the contemperaneous accounts of Renee in her blog it might even seem pretty convincing.

Nothing would have been able to stop the grift, and the Bach family would have been able to enjoy the aristocratic lifestyles that can be available to the shittier kinds of NGO executives, without any credible threats to it if Renee could have just gotten over her habit of killing children. I guess white privilege is a hell of a drug.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:33 AM on June 20 [19 favorites]


Christ, this is disgusting.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:50 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


What really gets me is that the charity was supposed to be shut down and the center in Jinja was forced to close due to these 'issues', but when they set up shop in the next district further away from prying eyes they doubled down on this medically intensive strategy with Renee wearing the same authoritative white coat.

This is awful. I can't get the lack of self-awareness (or just pure solipsistic selfishness?) that could inspire someone to kill children and then try again with a focus on not attracting so much attention. How do you not question yourself, even a little? Like, it can't just be the grift.

Also wow but there was a lot of mefis losing their minds at the idea of white saviours receiving criticism in that 2012 thread.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 9:03 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


I'd be okay if no white people go to any African country for the next 2 or 3 centuries.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:13 AM on June 20 [8 favorites]


She's a serial killer.

She used black kids at the cost of their lives so she could feed off the white savior rush. She's an actual fucking racist vampire.

This -- and the other organizations like this -- this is crimes against humanity stuff.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:24 AM on June 20 [19 favorites]


I mean, I guess add it to the list. I've been reading about a lot of those, lately, and every once in a while there's something that's so disturbing that it stands out amidst a literal murderer's row, and this...yeah.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:26 AM on June 20


The contrast between the “An ordinary girl who said yes to an extraordinary God': Bedford native finds home in Uganda“ link and all the others is amazing. For those who haven’t read it it is a puff piece from her local paper that seem to be exactly the kind of praise she was fishing for with her tragic misadventure. For once, though, the comments are worth a read.
posted by TedW at 10:10 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Ahhh great, can't think of any problems in Uganda that might be worsened by undermining the public's trust in real medicine. This lady is a monster, and so are her enablers.
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:45 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Gross, and I hope she faces real consequences at some point.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:25 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Wow, the story in your link praemunire is also bad. The "oh, we couldn't have predicted and planned for this [completely planned for by people who actually know what they're doing working with kids and vulnerable populations] situation. Also, it's just part of the culture there, everybody knows that. Not our fault." excuses. Not only is there the lack of internal consistency and the shitty racism, but the second excuse seems to be popular among people who know on some level that they've made poor choices that have caused serious harm, but are avoiding responsibility. It reminded me of the story that was posted ... in another post here? ... anyway, somewhere recently, about the two Jewish guys who planned the anti-Soros campaign in Hungary as consultants for Orban, which then grew into a global and highly anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. Dude they interviewed was all, "oh, that anti-Semitism was already there. I didn't contribute to it, or strengthening it, or helping in its resurgence to political power, through my actions in picking Soros as a convenient enemy to focus Orban's campaigns around, even though I totally knew all the stuff we were making up against him was fake." I guess it's a whole mindset, also encompassing the "boys will be boys" defense for tolerating or enabling sexual assault. Ugh.
posted by eviemath at 10:14 AM on June 21


Thank you Blasdelb. As the news broke over Twitter this past month, I knew that I'd never be able to make a dispassionate FPP - I am glad to see this here.
posted by hugbucket at 4:09 AM on June 22


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